Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Home again!

Our amazing week is over and we are home again! Each of us has hilarious shories of our new little friends. Each of us has stories of things we saw that touched us forever. And each of us has stories of how God worked in our own life. Please seek out Josh and Zak and Jonathan. Their stories will bless you deeply. I am so proud of these 3 young men. They allowed God to use them in ways they did not know He could. They dug deep down when they did not know they had any energy left to make memories for children they may never see again. Barnabas is now a part of them. That place gets under your skin until all you can do is count the days until you are back again! Their stories will be your stories and you will tell them again and again, and others will be blessed. They now hope to be able to raise their own scholorship money so that more and more children will have the opportunity to go to camp. If God lays it on your heart, please consider being part of the blessing. We will gather every dollar (and they do add up!) and send it to Barnabas to be used for the campers. For every $600.00 we raise, one of they boys' camp fees is waived and they are already planning next summer's trip! This blog is over and out!! Thanks for coming along with us! In His Love and Service, Val

Cross carry

The last night of camp is the cross carry. On the cross are the names of the campers who have passed away. The cross is carried from cabin to cabin and each cabin has an opportunity to pray over it. 2 people are walking with the cross leading a quiet time of worship songs. It is a very somber and emotional time because some of these little campers have diagnosis' that are fatal. They are well aware that their names will be on that cross one day. Some of the campers are in the siblings cabin. They may have a brother or sister whose names are on the cross. And all of us are reminded of a loved one who has passed away. Please alllow me to just post some pictures of faces in the crowd. They tell the story of the the night much better than my words ever could.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Sunday night

We got back from camping and spent most of the morning in the pool. There are 3 waterslides and all of us (me too) went down them again and again - SO FUN!! Later that afternoon, the girls began to get ready for the dance. The dance is always one of the most anticipated events of the week. The CIA's helped the campers to straighten or curl their hair, put makeup on and dress in their prettiest dresses. It took about 2 hours to perfect our girls!
Our beautiful girls!

The theme of the dance was the future. The boys spent about 5 seconds wrapping themselves in tin foil. That's Jonathan under there! Joey was eager to dance with his true love, Jacqueline!

Josh, Thomas and one of the doggies waiting for the dance to begin.

Brooke would love to marry staffer, Jamie, but settled for dancing with him!

The dance is nuts! 350+ campers and CIA's doing the macarena and other fun dances! And yes, you absolutely can dance in a wheelchair!
Tonight (Monday) is our last night at camp and is traditionally the cross carry. The cross bears the names of campers who have since passed away. All of the cabins line up up and down one of the paths and the cross is carried from group to group. Each of the cabins has a chance to pray over the cross. It is beautiful to participate and to watch how moved both the campers and adults become. After the cross carry, there is an open mike and any camper or CIA has the opportunity to come up and talk about the highlight of their week or what God showed them during the week. It is by far the most amazing evening imaginable to hear and see how lives were changed. The night goes long and we will be leaving camp at 9:00 tomorrow morning, so my next post will have to wait until we are back in Modesto. Thanks for coming along with us and for holding us up in prayer.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

I think it's Sunday...

At the campsite
This little guy and Snoopy hung out with us at the campsite.

Best buds, Aubrey and Emery.

Ariel and her CIA, Brynne.

Taylor and Jenetta are our 2 girls with prosthetics. I can never catch up with Taylor, who showed me how to do a headstand today, by the way!

Brooke insisted you can't say the "t" in British when you are speaking with a British accent, so she would say, "Bri - ish" and then just crack up!

Saturday was the big "excursion!" After breakfast, the girls, their chairs, bibles, sleeping bags and lots of bug spray were loaded into the "jolly wagon" and shuttled over to one of the campsites. The jolly wagon is like a tractor pulling a flatbed. I was not jumping for joy over the idea of camping. If Kelli can't get me to camp in a 5th wheel, I sure as heck don't want to camp without one! Besides there are chiggers and ticks and poison ivy out there! Was I surprised! This was the most fun day ever in all the years I have been here, and there have been some extremely fun days! The girls are now totally relaxed with each other and friendships have really formed. We made friendship bracelets and painted our nails and played telephone. After lunch and rest, one of the bays' cabins joined us. We played mafia (eat your heart out Joe Kraft!) and new friendships were formed. The girls decided to talk in British accents and laughed literally until they cried. The boys built a campfire and we roasted hotdogs, corn on the cob and of course, smores. The girls sang Justin Beiber songs (who is this kid?) and the boys did hilarious imitations of him. After the boys left, we tucked the girls into their sleeping bags and I hightailed it back to my bug-free cabin! Listennig to their laughter was so precious. Can you imagine 14 kids in wheelchairs and 2 with prosthetics in the middle of the woods, maneuvering over rocks and stumps and using a porta potty? Not one of them was least bit slowed down. These are amazing kids! And the CIA's carried kids over tree roots and lifted them on and off that potty with joyful spirits. This is an amazing place. What a privilege to be here.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

more pictures

I belive this is Max. He is a camper in Jon's cabin and Jon says he NEVER stops smiling!! I have pictures of all of the rest of the campers in B9 but since it takes about 4 minutes to upload each picture and I am already 1/2 hour late getting back to my campsite, you'll have to wait till we get back to Modesto...
Even Gus goes swimming!

At first, Joey did not want to wear a life vest, but you can't go in the water without one. Jonathan here is gently encouraging him to just try it on!

Jonathan so carefully getting Joey in the water.

Jonathan and Joey at the pool party last night.

Today we are camping! We took the girls to the campsite on something like a tractor with a flatbed. Here are Taylor and Jenetta playing "telephone."

Day something or other!!!

I finally have some time to tell you about the week. My campers are all 9 years of age and just adorable. 2 of the girls were born without legs. Taylor has prosthetics and runs way faster than I can! Jenetta has prosthetics but still uses a wheelchair most of the time. Ariel was born with an unpronounceable name that affects her joints. She is in a chair all the time. Gracie doesn’t have any physical challenges – she’s a cute little pumpkin that came with a family serving here. The other girls – Brooklyn, Grace, Aubrey and Emery all have cerebral palsy and are in chairs. They really are very typical girls – in love with Justin Bieber and giggling over who knows what! They race each other in their chairs at speeds that can’t be safe! Although there are no complaints from any of them, I am humbled to see what it is like to live without legs that work.

Our theme for the week is “wanted,” At Pet Set, we met a hedgehog, 2 llamas and a host of other critters. The kids heard that God created all the animals and that He created them too. They heard that God never makes mistakes, that He created them uniquely and wonderfully and that He loves them so so much. At horseback riding, they learned that horses have bits and bridles so that we can lead them and keep them safe. They heard that God wants to lead us and we are happiest and will be satisfied when we follow Him.

My 8 CIA’s (Christians in Action) are amazing. They transfer the girls from wheelchair to potty like they have been doing it all their lives. I don’t know how many times they take the girls down the slide at the pool and then carry them back up to do it again. They get tired but never show it. They are all sweethearts and a joy to be around!

More to come….. Thanks for following along with me!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Day 3, I think!

Today was not a successful internet day! Finally up but it is 10:00 Missouri time and I only have a few minutes before I need to be back at the cabin. I have lots of pictures of Jon and his cabin and will try to get them up on Sunday. Tomorrow my cabin will be camping from right after breakfast to the following day, so we'll be out under the stars. Yippee - not! My campers are just amazing little girls and we are all having a blast! Lots of stories when I return. Josh's cabin was camping today so he was off in the woods somewhere. Jonathan says he is having the time of his life. Have caught glimpses of Zak here and there! Thank you for all your prayers!!

Grace's joyful spirit has everybody smiling all the time. Here she is with her CIA, Kate and Roy the horse!
Dressed up for the caveman and dinosaur party with Aubrey.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Day 2

Well, there actually is internet but it's pretty unreliable and I can only access it after 5:00, which is not a great time to leave my girls. I'll do my best! I have 8 little girl campers, all around 9 years old. 2 were born without legs, most of the others have cerebral palsy. Almost all use wheelchairs. They are so stinkin' cute! I tried to post pictures of the boys today. Next time, I'll try to post the girls!! These are in backwards order - sorry! So start at the bottom, I guess!

Josh took his buddy, Thomas down the waterslide!
Zak caught a fish!

Once on the dock, the girls are transferred from their chairs to the canoe and off they go! Grace is in the middle, Janetta up front and counselor Jess is in back.

Today our girls went canoeing. This lift brings them in their wheelchairs down, down, down to the lake.

The game tonight was Minute to Win It. Jon and Joey were picked to see how many apples they could stack in a minute. With a little help from Jon, they stacked 3. Joey and Jon got to squirt paint, oatmeal and ice water all over the couselor of their choice!

Emery gets a kiss from another camp doggy, Jackson.

Gus, the new camp puppy is not full grown! He's with 2 of my little campers, Taylor and Emery.

Jonathan and his camper, Joey. Joey is actually 14, but has a mental age of 8.

Zak and his camper, Lance. Lance is 15.

Josh and his camper Thomas. Thomas is 7, I think and pretty darn cute!

The campers are here!!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

This update comes from Val's husband John. There's good news and bad news.

First the good news: They had a very smooth trip to the camp. Thanks to all for prayers for travel mercies. They work! There was virtually no traffic all the way to Oakland Airport and no lines at the airport! The flight arrived in Kansas City 20 minute early...when is the last time that has happened to anyone? Since the luggage filled up the entire back of my Honda Pilot, all the way to the roof, we knew there would be a problem fitting all of that into the low-price economy car that was rented to get them from Kansas City to Purdy, Missouri. When they arrive at Enterprise, Val told the man they were on a mission trip and he gave they a van for only $5 more a day. Problem solved!

Now the bad news: There is no internet at Camp Barnabas. Val usually texts me occasionally, and once in a while is able to sneak in a call. Anything I learn, I will pass on, so don't stop checking. Unfortuately there won't be photos. Hopefully Val will put something together when she returns.

Please don't stop praying. This mission always brings many challenges and Val, the young men, and the campers will need them.

Sunday, June 6, 2010